With words of love for his family who surrounded him, Kenneth Edward Meidam walked into Jesus’ welcoming arms on Friday, October 27, 2023.
Born in Stevens Point, Wisconsin to George and Irene (Warning) Meidam on January 4, 1945, Ken was the first of six children in his family. No one could have loved his siblings more, and he took great joy in getting together with them and their spouses every month for dinner as well as with their entire “clan” each Christmas. Ken’s childhood was greatly enriched by the summers he spent with his beloved Grandpa and Grandma Warning, where he learned how to repair, refurbish, renovate anything on their farm. That skill (and the value of taking care of what he had) stayed with Ken his entire lifetime; he could (and did) repair nearly everything from semi-trucks, race cars, motorcycles, snowblowers and lawnmowers to riding toys and clocks to leaky faucets and rain gutters to cars. Anyone who knew Ken benefited from his repair knowledge and skills, particularly because he was always so generous with his time and talent.
High school sweethearts at Manawa’s Little Wolf High School, Ken and Helen Jean Roenz married on June 19, 1965. God blessed them with two sons and for Ken the fun was only just beginning. The boys had every riding toy imaginable, supplied by their dad who couldn’t resist anything with a motor. No one could have been prouder when his sons grew up and married, adding two beautiful young women to the family. And when three grandchildren followed, he was ecstatic.
Ken’s enthusiasm and dedication to working hard and doing the very best he could made him an employer’s dream. From Kampo Transit to Schneider Transport where Ken started as a diesel mechanic and later transitioned into management. After retiring, Ken did what he loved most, repairing lawnmowers, snowblowers, and anything small engines for family, friends, and his neighbors. His commitment to working hard and always doing the best he could earned him recognition, advancement, and the gratitude of so many. Seldom was Ken alone in his workshop as friends, relatives, and neighbors stopped in to get his take on a lawnmower that wouldn’t start, a car making a funny noise, or a snowblower that needed tuning. He was always happy to take a break, pull out some lawn chairs, and “shoot the breeze” a while. To know Ken was to love him.
Ken enjoyed the early days of ice and motocross racing and many years of racing with his sons in the Fox River Racing Club at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna. Ken also enjoyed many years of camping with his family at Vista Royalle Campground.
That camaraderie, the ease with which Ken made friends, was a blessing in his last years. After a fall a decade ago, Ken’s ability to walk declined and eventually ended. When Oak Park Assisted Living became the best way to help Ken, the friends and neighbors with whom he’d shared so many afternoons once again came to him. He and Helen were so grateful for the loyal and loving friendship of Brad Reitzner, Jeff West, and the late Paul Ganzen who faithfully visited Ken every Wednesday. Ken and Helen’s gratitude also extended to the staff of Oak Park, in particular Adrianne, Mercedes, and Anita, who treated Ken like family and shared hugs, laughs, and the occasional treat with him. In his last days, the care of Promedica Hospice was also a welcome presence in Ken’s life.
Ken will be missed greatly by his wife, sons John (Jody) and Steven (Skye), and grandchildren Parker, Ajay, and Halle, as well as his siblings Karen (Jim) Rill, Kathy (Donald) Boutwell, Karla Jaeger, George (Sue) Meidam, and Kristine (David) Rice. He is further survived by the “family he married”: Sara “Sally” Vaaler, Mary Roenz, Barbara (Rod) Tillman, and Carl James “Jim” (Christine) Roenz.
Those loved ones who went ahead to heaven are Ken’s parents, Helen’s parents, Carl and Carol Roenz, grandparents, grandson Connor James Meidam, brothers-in-law Steven Jaeger and Wayne Vaaler, and nephew Justin Meidam. We can only imagine the joyous reunion they’re having with Ken!
The funeral service for Ken will be held at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Greenville, on Wednesday, November 8, 2023 at 11:00 am with Reverend Steve Kline officiating. Visitation will be at the church from 9:00 am until the time of the service. Celebration of Ken’s life will follow at Stone Toad Bar and Grill, Menasha from 4:00 to 7:00 pm.
In lieu of floral tributes, the family has asked for donations to Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Ken’s name, for the benefit of the comfort dog ministry.